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Where Shall I go From Your Spirit?
Psalm 139 is one of my favorite psalms. It is an intense, personal conversation with God rooted in a truly humble expression of the psalmist’s awareness of the omnipresence of God and of God’s love. It is a powerful, prayerful recognition of our smallness and our utter dependence on God. The psalm begins with a statement of awe: “O Lord, you have searched me and known me!” Can his closeness to us be more clearly expressed? This is a stunning fact to contemplate and to meditate upon. God penetrates the deepest confines of our innermost hidden selves. He knows our every move, even knows our words before they reach our tongues. There is nothing we can hide from him, nor anyplace we can go to hide from him. David says of the Lord, “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me” (verse 5). It is clear in the tone of this beautiful prayer that this realization of God’s eternal presence to us is not something to be feared. Rather, for those who believe in his love and mercy, this awareness is very comforting. The Irish St. Patrick had this awareness and echoes David’s psalm expressing the same ideas about Christ in his famous prayer called St. Patrick’s Breastplate: “Christ within me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.” Both David’s prayer and Patrick’s are filled with awed and inspired exaltation…